In the Platonic , Neopythagorean , Middle Platonic , and Neoplatonic schools of philosophy, the DEMIURGE (/ˈdɛmiˌɜːrdʒ/ ) is an artisan-like figure responsible for the fashioning and maintenance of the physical universe. The term was adopted by the Gnostics . Although a fashioner, the demiurge is not necessarily the same as the creator figure in the monotheistic sense, because the demiurge itself and the material from which the demiurge fashions the universe are both considered to be consequences of something else. Depending on the system, they may be considered to be either uncreated and eternal, or considered to be the product of some other entity.
The word "demiurge" is an English word from demiurgus, a Latinized form of the Greek δημιουργός, dēmiourgos which was originally a common noun meaning "craftsman" or "artisan", but gradually it came to mean "producer" and eventually "creator". The philosophical usage and the proper noun derive from Plato\'s Timaeus , written c. 360 BC, in which the demiurge is presented as the creator of the universe. This is accordingly the definition of the demiurge in the Platonic (c. 310–90 BC) and Middle Platonic (c. 90 BC – AD 300) philosophical traditions. In the various branches of the Neoplatonic school (third century onwards), the demiurge is the fashioner of the real, perceptible world after the model of the Ideas , but (in most Neoplatonic systems) is still not itself "the One ". In the arch-dualist ideology of the various Gnostic systems, the material universe is evil, while the non-material world is good; accordingly, the demiurge is malevolent , as linked to the material world.
* 1.1 Middle Platonism
* 1.2 Neoplatonism
* 1.2.1 Henology * 1.2.2 Iamblichus
* 2 Gnosticism
* 2.3 Yaldabaoth
* 2.3.1 Names
* 2.4 Marcion
* 2.5 Valentinus
* 3.1 Plotinus
* 4 See also * 5 References * 6 External links
PLATONISM AND NEOPLATONISM
Plotinus and the later Platonists worked to clarify the Demiurge. To
Plotinus, the second emanation represents an uncreated second cause
The first and highest aspect of
Plotinus' form of
Platonic idealism is to treat the Demiurge, nous as
the contemplative faculty (ergon) within man which orders the force
(dynamis) into conscious reality. In this he claimed to reveal
Plato's true meaning, a doctrine he learned from Platonic tradition
that did not appear outside the academy or in Plato's text. This
tradition of creator
Arche (Gr. "beginning") – the source of all things,
Numenius of Apamea and Plotinus'
Enneads , no Platonic works
ontologically clarified the
See also: Panentheism
Later, the Neoplatonist Iamblichus changed the role of the "One",
effectively altering the role of the
The figure of the
The "One" is further separated into spheres of intelligence; the
first and superior sphere is objects of thought, while the latter
sphere is the domain of thought. Thus, a triad is formed of the
intelligible nous, the intellective nous, and the psyche in order to
reconcile further the various Hellenistic philosophical schools of
Then within this intellectual triad Iamblichus assigns the third rank to the Demiurge, identifying it with the perfect or Divine nous with the intellectual triad being promoted to a hebdomad (pure intellect).
In the theoretic of Plotinus, nous produces nature through intellectual mediation, thus the intellectualizing gods are followed with a triad of psychic gods.
Gnosticism presents a distinction between the highest, unknowable God
and the demiurgic "creator" of the material. Several systems of
Gnostic thought present the
One Gnostic mythos describes the declination of aspects of the divine
into human form. Sophia (Greek: Σοφία, lit. "wisdom"), the
Demiurge's mother a partial aspect of the divine
"Fullness," desired to create something apart from the divine totality
, without the receipt of divine assent. In this act of separate
creation, she gave birth to the monstrous
The Demiurge, having received a portion of power from his mother, sets about a work of creation in unconscious imitation of the superior Pleromatic realm: He frames the seven heavens , as well as all material and animal things, according to forms furnished by his mother; working however blindly, and ignorant even of the existence of the mother who is the source of all his energy. He is blind to all that is spiritual, but he is king over the other two provinces. The word dēmiourgos properly describes his relation to the material; he is the father of that which is animal like himself.
Thus Sophia's power becomes enclosed within the material forms of humanity, themselves entrapped within the material universe: the goal of Gnostic movements was typically the awakening of this spark, which permitted a return by the subject to the superior, non-material realities which were its primal source.
Psalm 82 begins (verse 1), "
The earliest Gnostic sects ascribe the work of creation to angels,
some of them using the same passage in Genesis. So
Irenaeus tells of
the system of
Simon Magus , of the system of Menander , of the
system of Saturninus , in which the number of these angels is reckoned
as seven, and of the system of
Carpocrates . In the report of the
Basilides , we are told that our world was made by the
angels who occupy the lowest heaven; but special mention is made of
their chief, who is said to have been the
The Latin translation, confirmed by Hippolytus , makes Irenaeus
state that according to
A lion-faced deity found on a Gnostic gem in Bernard de Montfaucon 's L'antiquité expliquée et représentée en figures may be a depiction of the Demiurge.
In the Ophite and Sethian systems, which have many affinities with that last mentioned , the making of the world is ascribed to a company of seven archons , whose names are given, but their chief, "Yaldabaoth" (also known as "Yaltabaoth" or "Ialdabaoth") comes into still greater prominence.
Now the archon (ruler) who is weak has three names. The first name is
Yaltabaoth, the second is
Saklas ("fool"), and the third is
And he is impious in his arrogance which is in him. For he said, "I am
Yaldabaoth is frequently called "the Lion-faced", leontoeides, with
the body of a serpent. We are told also that the
In Pistis Sophia Yaldabaoth has already sunk from his high estate and resides in Chaos, where, with his forty-nine demons, he tortures wicked souls in boiling rivers of pitch, and with other punishments (pp. 257, 382). He is an archon with the face of a lion, half flame and half darkness.
Under the name of Nebro (rebel), Yaldabaoth is called an angel in the apocryphal Gospel of Judas . He is first mentioned in "The Cosmos, Chaos, and the Underworld" as one of the twelve angels to come "into being rule over chaos and the ". He comes from heaven, his "face flashed with fire and whose appearance was defiled with blood". Nebro creates six angels in addition to the angel Saklas to be his assistants. These six in turn create another twelve angels "with each one receiving a portion in the heavens."
Gershom Scholem , the third genius in this field, more specifically the genius of precision, has taught us that some of us were wrong when they believed that Jaldabaoth means "son of chaos", because the Aramaic word bahutha in the sense of chaos only existed in the imagination of the author of a well-known dictionary. This is a pity because this name would suit the demiurge risen from chaos to a nicety. And perhaps the author of the Untitled Document did not know Aramaic and also supposed as we did once, that baoth had something to do with tohuwabohu , one of the few Hebrew words that everybody knows. ... It would seem then that the Orphic view of the demiurge was integrated into Jewish Gnosticism even before the redaction of the myth contained in the original Apocryphon of John. ... Phanes is represented with the mask of a lion's head on his breast, while from his sides the heads of a ram and a buck are budding forth: his body is encircled by a snake. This type was accepted by the Mithras mysteries , to indicate Aion , the new year, and Mithras , whose numerical value is 365. Sometimes he is also identified with Jao Adonai, the creator of the Hebrews. His hieratic attitude indicates Egyptian origin. The same is true of the monstrous figure with the head of a lion , which symbolises Time, Chronos , in Mithraism; Alexandrian origin of this type is probable.
Samael " literally means "Blind God" or "
The angelic name "Ariel " (meaning "the lion of God" in Hebrew) has also been used to refer to the Demiurge, and is called his "perfect" name; in some Gnostic lore, Ariel has been called an ancient or original name for Ialdabaoth. The name has also been inscribed on amulets as "Ariel Ialdabaoth", and the figure of the archon inscribed with "Aariel".
According to Marcion , the title
It is in the system of Valentinus that the name Dēmiourgos is used, which occurs nowhere in Irenaeus except in connection with the Valentinian system; we may reasonably conclude that it was Valentinus who adopted from Platonism the use of this word. When it is employed by other Gnostics either it is not used in a technical sense, or its use has been borrowed from Valentinus. But it is only the name that can be said to be specially Valentinian; the personage intended by it corresponds more or less closely with the Yaldabaoth of the Ophites, the great Archon of Basilides, the Elohim of Justinus, etc.
The Valentinian theory elaborates that from Achamoth (he kátō
sophía or lower wisdom) three kinds of substance take their origin,
the spiritual (pneumatikoí), the animal (psychikoí) and the material
In creating this world out of Chaos the
The first, or material men, will return to the grossness of matter
and finally be consumed by fire; the second, or animal men, together
with the Demiurge, will enter a middle state, neither
hyle; the purely spiritual men will be completely freed from the
influence of the
Opinions on the devil , and his relationship to the Demiurge, varied.
Ophites held that he and his demons constantly oppose and thwart
the human race, as it was on their account the devil was cast down
into this world. According to one variant of the Valentinian system,
The Valentinian Heracleon interpreted the devil as the principle of evil, that of hyle (matter). As he writes in his commentary on John 4:21,
The mountain represents the Devil, or his world, since the Devil was one part of the whole of matter, but the world is the total mountain of evil, a deserted dwelling place of beasts, to which all who lived before the law and all Gentiles render worship. But Jerusalem represents the creation or the Creator whom the Jews worship. . . . You then who are spiritual should worship neither the creation nor the Craftsman, but the Father of Truth.
This vilification of the creator was held to be inimical to
There is a direct link between ancient Gnosticism and Catharism. The Cathars held that the creator of the world, Satanael, had usurped the name of God, but that he had subsequently been unmasked and told that he was not really God.
NEOPLATONISM AND GNOSTICISM
Wikisource has original text related to this article: AGAINST THE GNOSTICS; OR, AGAINST THOSE THAT AFFIRM THE CREATOR OF THE COSMOS AND THE COSMOS ITSELF TO BE EVIL
Gnosticism attributed falsehood or evil to the concept of
The Neoplatonic philosopher
Plotinus addressed within his works
Gnosticism's conception of the Demiurge, which he saw as un-Hellenic
and blasphemous to the
Of note here is the remark concerning the second hypostasis or
Creator and third hypostasis or World Soul .
Plotinus criticizes his
opponents for "all the novelties through which they seek to establish
a philosophy of their own" which, he declares, "have been picked up
outside of the truth"; they attempt to conceal rather than admit
their indebtedness to ancient philosophy, which they have corrupted by
their extraneous and misguided embellishments. Thus their
understanding of the
The majority of scholars tend to understand Plotinus' opponents as
being a Gnostic sect—certainly (specifically Sethian ), several such
groups were present in
Though the former understanding certainly enjoys the greatest
popularity, the identification of Plotinus' opponents as Gnostic is
not without some contention. Christos Evangeliou has contended that
Plotinus’ opponents might be better described as simply "Christian
Gnostics", arguing that several of Plotinus’ criticisms are as
applicable to orthodox Christian doctrine as well. Also, considering
the evidence from the time, Evangeliou thought the definition of the
term "Gnostics" was unclear. Of note here is that while Plotinus'
student Porphyry names
A.H. Armstrong identified the so-called "Gnostics" that
attacking as Jewish and Pagan, in his introduction to the tract in his
translation of the
Enneads . Armstrong alluding to
Gnosticism being a
Hellenic philosophical heresy of sorts, which later engaged
John D. Turner , professor of religious studies at the University of
Nebraska and famed translator and editor of the
Nag Hammadi library ,
stated that the text
Plotinus and his students read was Sethian
Gnosticism, which predates Christianity. It appears that Plotinus
attempted to clarify how the philosophers of the academy had not
arrived at the same conclusions (such as dystheism or misotheism for
* ^ Fontenrose, Joseph (1974). Python: A Study of Delphic Myth and
Its Origin. Biblo & Tannen Publishers. p. 226. ISBN 978-0-8196-0285-5
* ^ Sallis, John (1999). Chorology: On Beginning in Plato\'s
Timaeus. Indiana University Press. p. 86. ISBN 0-253-21308-8 .
* ^ Keightley, Thomas (1838). The mythology of ancient Greece and
Italy. Oxford University. p. 44.
* ^ Robert McLachlan Wilson (1976). Nag Hammadi and gnosis: Papers read at the First International Congress of Coptology. BRILL. pp. 21–23. Therefore his esoteric name is Jaldabaoth, whereas the perfect call him Ariel, because he has the appearance of a lion. * ^ Gustav Davidson (1994). A dictionary of angels: including the fallen angels. Scrollhouse. p. 54. * ^ David M Gwynn (2010). Religious Diversity in Late Antiquity. BRILL. p. 448. * ^ Campbell Bonner (1949). "An Amulet of the Ophite Gnostics". The American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Hesperia Supplements, Vol. 8: 43–46. * ^ Gilles Quispel; R. van den Broek ; Maarten Jozef Vermaseren (1981). Studies in gnosticism and hellenistic religions. BRILL. pp. 40–41. * ^ Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses, i. 5. * ^ Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses, i. 6. * ^ Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses, i. 30, 8. * ^ Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses, i. 5, 4. * ^ Heracleon, Frag. 20. * ^ Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses, iii. 25. * ^ Quispel, Gilles and Van Oort, Johannes (2008), p. 143. * ^ John D. Turner. Neoplatonism. * ^ "For, in sum, a part of their doctrine comes from Plato; all the novelties through which they seek to establish a philosophy of their own have been picked up outside of the truth." Plotinus "Against the Gnostics", Ennead II, 9, 6. * ^ Plotinus, Arthur Hilary Armstrong (trans.) (1966). Plotinus: Enneads II (Loeb Classical Library ed.). Harvard University Press. From this point to the end of ch. 12 Plotinus is attacking a Gnostic myth known to us best at present in the form it took in the system of Valentinus. The Mother, Sophia-Achamoth, produced as a result of the complicated sequence of events which followed the fall of the higher Sophia, and her offspring the Demiurge, the inferier and ignorant maker of the material universe, are Valentinian figures; cp. Irenaeus, Adversus haereses 1.4 and 5. Valentinius had been in Rome, and there is nothing improbable in the presence of Valentinians there in the time of Plotinus. But the evidence in the Life ch. 16 suggests that the Gnostics in Plotinus's circle belonged rather to the older group called Sethians or Archontics , related to the Ophites or Barbelognostics : they probably called themselves simply 'Gnostics.' Gnostic sects borrowed freely from each other, and it is likely that Valentinius took some of his ideas about Sophia from older Gnostic sources, and that his ideas in turn influenced other Gnostics. * ^ Evangeliou, "Plotinus's Anti-Gnostic Polemic and Porphyry's Against the Christians", in Wallis there cannot be more or fewer than these three. Criticism of the attempts to multiply the hypostasis, and especially of the idea of two intellects, one which thinks and that other which thinks that it thinks. (ch. 1). The true doctrine of Soul (ch. 2). The law of necessary procession and the eternity of the universe (ch.3). Attack on the Gnostic doctrine of the making of the universe by a fallen soul, and on their despising of the universe and the heavenly bodies (chs. 4–5). The senseless jargon of the Gnostics, their plagiarism from and perversion of Plato, and their insolent arrogance (ch. 6). The true doctrine about Universal Soul and the goodness of the universe which it forms and rules (chs. 7–8). Refutation of objections from the inequalities and injustices of human life (ch. 9). Ridiculous arrogance of the Gnostics who refuse to acknowledge the hierarchy of created gods and spirits and say that they alone are sons of God